Hammered Copper Coffee Table

40,223

213

48

Introduction: Hammered Copper Coffee Table

About: I like to make stuff for my home and garden from wood and metal..

In this Instructable I show how I made a coffee table using an old copper water cylinder and parts of a disused IKEA bed frame. The water cylinder was removed from a house as it had a hole in it and the "KURA" IKEA bed was my sons which he had out grown. The whole project is almost made entirely from items that were to be discarded but instead have been turned into a useful, practical hardwearing and not bad looking table.

TOOLS:

Angle grinder.
Tin snips.
Miter Saw (optional)
Hand saw.
Screwdriver.
Ball pein hammer.
Drill.
Paint brush.
Sander.

MATERIALS:

Copper cylinder or sheet.
40mm x 40mm wood (I used parts of Ikea bed)
18mm Plywood.
Glue.
Screws.
Paint
Primer.


Step 1: Have a Look at the Video Below.

Have a look at the short video above to see how I built the hammered copper coffee table from start to finish.

Step 2: Dismantle the Cylinder.

To start I just dove in and cut the top and bottom off the cylinder off with my 115mm (4.5 inch) angle grinder. Copper is a soft metal and is easily cut. If you do not have an angle grinder it can be easily cut with tin snips. The insulation that was surrounding the cylinder would have to be removed first though. Once the top and bottom were off I removed the coils of that are inside the cylinder. These were a little tricky to remove as it was difficult to get the angle grinder in at the right angle to cut the pipes. When I eventually got them cut they easily slide out. The pipe connections that enter and exit the cylinder were located down one side of the cylinder. I cut a line down either side of these the full length of the cylinder to remove them. I was then left with a sheet of copper albeit covered in insulation and in a circular shape.

Step 3: Flatten Out, Remover the Insulation, and Clean Up.

I placed the copper on a bench to flatten it out and remove the insulation. The insulation was pretty easy to remove, I just used the flat part of a try square to get between the insulation and copper and broke it off. The insulation left some residue on the copper which I could not scrape off. I did not want to push too hard in case I scratched the copper. To get the bulk of the residue off I used an electric sander with a fine grit sandpaper. There was a few imperfections in the copper so I had to use some fine sanding pads and do these by hand.

Step 4: Cutting Copper Size.

I wanted a coffee table 100cm x 55cm in size but as you can see in the pictures and video the copper was bigger than that so a bigger table could have been made or even some smaller ones. When the copper was flattened out I realised the was a seam in the copper where it had been joined in the cylinder manufacturing stage. The plan before I started the coffee table was to have all the top finished with the hammered effect but when I noticed the seam I didn't know what I was going to do! If I had done the whole top with the hammered effect I do not think it would have looked great with the seam in it. I thought about trying to cut the seam out but would have had to make the table smaller. In the end I decided to keep the seam in but just have the hammered effect up to the seam and then keep the rest smooth. I set the top out around the seam, planning to have approximately 3/4 hammered and 1/4 smooth. I marked the copper with a pencil allowing approximately 100mm (4inches) extra all around to allow for the copper to be folded down the sides and underneath. I cut the copper to size using a tin snips and set aside the rest to be recycled at a metal recycling facility at a later date or make something else from the leftovers.

Step 5: Table Frame. Cutting List.

I wanted to keep the frame as simple as possible, both in making it and in design. I decided to go with just a simple 40mm x 40mm frame using parts of the IKEA KURA bed frame. The frame consists of a top section an identical size bottom section and four legs connecting the whole lot together. The cutting list for the frame is :

4 @ 1000mm x 40mm x 40mm (45 degree cuts both ends)

4 @ 550mm x 40mm x 40mm (45 degree cuts both ends)

4 @ 330mm x 40mm x 40mm (Square cuts)

I predrilled some holes for plugs to cover the screws then I glued and screwed the top and bottom sections first before gluing and screwing them together with the four leg (square cut) pieces .

Step 6: Finishing the Frame.

After allowing the glue to cure, I filled and sanded any imperfections in the wood frame. I applied a coat of wood primer and let dry. I then applied 3 coats of a black water based paint giving the frame a light sanding before the final coat.

Step 7: Table Top.

The copper is only about 1mm thick so it needed a support to hold it up and also attach it to the frame. I got some 18mm (3/4 inch) plywood and cut a piece 1000mm x 550mm and cut some strips about 75mm (3inch) wide. I glued and screwed these strips around the edge of the top to make the top seem thicker.

Hammered effect

The hammered effect in the copper is simple to achieve, it just takes a lot of stamina in your arm!! You will need a ball pein hammer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball-peen_hammer to get this effect and it is simply a matter of hammering the copper! You will get a feel of how hard you need to hit it after a few goes.

Attaching the copper to the plywood.

After my arm had recovered from all the hammering I stuck the copper to the plywood with some strong silicone. I used Tec7 . After applying the silicone I added some heavy weights to the plywood and copper to ensure any lumps were flattened out and that they bonded together correctly.

Folding the corners:

As I said earlier copper is a soft metal and pliable. The corners need to be cut to fold it properly so I set out some pencil lines of where to cut (see pics and video) and cut these with the tin snips. I then folded it as far as I could by hand and then using the flat side of the ball pien hammer hammered the copper around the corners as neat as possible. When I folded it around the bottom side I used some nails to hold the copper in place.

What finish?

I used a compound paste to clean the copper one last time. In the end I did not put any finish onto the copper as I want it to darken up and colour over time. To keep the shiny polished look a lacquer can be added .

Step 8: Joining the Top and Frame.

The joining of the top was very easy. I just had to place the top onto the frame and the attach it with some 60 - 70 mm screws. As the table was going to be on a wooden floor I attached some felt floor protectors to the bottom of the frame.

Step 9: The Finished Piece!

And here is the finished piece!! Let me know what you think of it and what if anything you would change or do differently. Thanks for looking.If you would like to see more projects from me visit my YouTube channel here: Eamon Walsh DIY

Thanks again.

Trash to Treasure Contest

First Prize in the
Trash to Treasure Contest

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Fabric Challenge

      Fabric Challenge
    • First Time Author Contest

      First Time Author Contest
    • Build a Tool Contest

      Build a Tool Contest

    48 Comments

    0
    JeffG121
    JeffG121

    Question 7 months ago on Step 7

    What....you should use copper nails underneath to secure metal, or hopefully you did at least use stainless, otherwise you'll get electrolysis corosion.

    0
    crimes
    crimes

    7 months ago

    Looks great, now I have another thing to keep and eye out at garage sales, big old tanks with copper inside, nice work.

    The table turned out to be #Fantastic. Great job using recycled materials. You earned a follow from me.

    0
    tomorrowtools
    tomorrowtools

    7 months ago

    Super good video - good use of fast forward. Easy and very instructive to watch. Your copper table is brill ! Where does one find a copper hot water tank in Canada, eh? Copper is WAY to expensive otherwise. Looking forward to more of your creative work. Paul

    0
    biglouie
    biglouie

    7 months ago on Step 9

    Well done! Always nice to see throw away items repurposed and beautifully so!

    0
    MrsWilson46
    MrsWilson46

    1 year ago on Step 9

    Love the project - but honey, please wear gloves when you work with metal! I was cringing watching the video of you cutting copper bare handed!

    0
    spiritburner
    spiritburner

    Reply 7 months ago

    a lot of the time it is extremely dangerous to wear gloves when using metal and machinery, your glove can get trappen and it can you pull you hand into the machinery with devastating results.

    Also when wearing gloves you cant feel half the time what you are doing on metal.

    Most of the time it is safer not to wear them.

    0
    eamonwalshdiy
    eamonwalshdiy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you very much.

    0
    spiritburner
    spiritburner

    7 months ago on Step 9

    That is an excellent job I love to see things made from Copper and Brass, Both materials are excellent to work with, very forgiving and because you can anneal them you can make all sorts of shapes from them.

    You were lucky to get the cylinder in copper most of them now are steel and heavily insulated as copper is so expensive now.

    It's also good to see the peened finish. Well done. really looks great, not everyone's cup of tea but I love things made from copper, most of my saucepans are copper or cast iron and I just have the copper ones re tinned every few years. They are a generational item and basically will last forever.

    It is also now a commodity with 1 oz of copper currently trading at about 29 euros so you have well over 100 usd on that table there in scrap copper alone. Before i retired I used to keep any lead , copper and brass that we came upon while working and just threw them into bins in the workshop, upon retiring they produced

    Copper at long last is also being used now in hospitals as counter-tops, door handles, taps etc because of its antiseptic/ antibacterial properties. Its incredibly good in dealing with all sorts of little nasties, way better than stainless steel/Inox is. these people who insist of having stainless everywhere in there kitchens would be way better in having them made out of pure copper for that reason alone.

    I also think it really looks nice and ages beautifully, It was also applied to the hulls of wooden ships in the mediterranean where I now live to stop the little worms from eating the ships' hulls.

    A nice little earner as we say of here in europe!

    Nice job, thanks for sharing.

    Thanks

    Neil.

    0
    starguywisc
    starguywisc

    7 months ago on Step 9

    What a beautiful table! My Dad was a sheetmetal worker and a craftsman and he made a number of pieces out of copper, including some dimpled ones.

    0
    jonrobrt
    jonrobrt

    7 months ago

    Nice table. Question: the nails appeared to be galvanized, did I see that right?

    0
    alanizd1
    alanizd1

    7 months ago

    Your results are great! Really great idea and creative process on your part. I think leaving the seam in and having two finishes on top actually enhances the look. The table is beautiful and the construction is very straightforward. Thanks for sharing.

    0
    tedtol
    tedtol

    7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this video. Very attractive project, and made from re-purposed material which I whole-heartedly support. Please post a picture of the table when if it does develop a patina in the future. Would love to see that effect. Thanks.

    0
    XYZ Create
    XYZ Create

    1 year ago

    Im so glad you didn't finish the copper top. I think the texture would look amazing with a green copper patina on it!

    0
    cirena
    cirena

    1 year ago

    This looks much more interesting with two copper textures. Great work!

    0
    eamonwalshdiy
    eamonwalshdiy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you very much.

    0
    gmartonic
    gmartonic

    1 year ago on Step 9

    love it....red wine vinegar and miracle grow plant food mixture would patina the copper nicely.....then poly it for the finish....just a thought if your dealing with copper again....but like the smooth and hammered effect.

    0
    eamonwalshdiy
    eamonwalshdiy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you very much, I will keep that in mind.